Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel struck the right themes in his first major address, delivered today at the National Defense University. The question now is whether he can follow through with new policies.
It would be a mistake to view President Obama's visit to Israel as just a fence-mending exercise. It is in fact part of a planned redesign of U.S. foreign policy that will change the face of American leadership around the world.
The announcement last week by Defense Secretary Hagel that the U.S. will, over the coming months, deploy additional anti-ballistic missile interceptors in Alaska and on America's west coast is not really what it is being portrayed as.
I am not one for admitting I am wrong, but sometimes the evidence is so overwhelming that I have to say it. I was wrong. Specifically I have been repeatedly wrong when I said that the Israel lobby could not be defeated unless and until the President of the United States confronted it directly.
It is the death throes of the neoconservatives' hold on United States foreign policy that makes the confirmation of Hagel and the installation of the Biden-Kerry-Hagel team so critically important for the United States and the world.
Their tenures in these positions often far out ran the tenure of the president that appointed them. But because they were largely nameless and faceless they got very little attention. Obama's appointments to the judiciary are a near textbook example of that. Few can name any of them.
Hagel has taken flak from neo-conservatives and other advocates of military overspending for rightly suggesting that the current Pentagon budget is "bloated" and can afford to be cut significantly beyond current plans.